Doomsday for PMB club rugby?

2008-07-21 00:00

The defeat suffered by Maritzburg Varsity in their final Premier Division Moor Cup match away to Durban Collegians at the weekend has thrown the 97-year-old KZN club rugby institution into the relegation quagmire.

It was not so much Varsity losing 45-3 to the Durban team that is the issue, as the campus-based team were already consigned to last place whatever the result on King’s Park 10.

Rather, the meritorious 27-19 victory by Hillcrest over Vryheid for the First Division Dewar Shield title is the catalyst for PMB Varsity and, indeed, the capital city’s club rugby as a whole being in the do-or-die position it now finds itself in.

The indication coming out of the ambitious Hillcrest club is that they will challenge Varsity to a promotion/relegation match in which success for one could mean oblivion for the other. Should Hillcrest win, the result will deal a mortal blow to the capital city’s club game.

It is correct to note that Varsity’s demise is also Maritzburg’s demise. With PMB Collegians, an impressively-run club under chairman Tony Day’s passionate leadership, acutely aware of how difficult First Division success can be, the likelihood of Varsity or anyone else in PMB returning to the top flight is remote.

Like Hillcrest, the burgeoning ambition of other go-ahead Durban satellite communities also wanting a piece of the Premier Division pie is further evidence that damns PMB. Amanzimtoti is one such community whose ambitious rugby club is planning to make the jump from First Division to Premier status sooner rather than later.

However, what appears to be an oversight by the KZN Rugby Union — noted by The Witness — could and should throw PMB rugby a lifeline, even if it is through a loophole in the governing body’s rules and regulations for the 2008 season.

Item 17.1 states that a club that has met the conditions of having won the First Division and met the depth clause of fielding four league teams qualifies to challenge for Premier Division status in a promotion/relegation game “against the last-placed DRSU [Durban Rugby Sub Union] team in the Premier Division competition”.

PMB Varsity are a Midlands Rugby Sub Union (MRSU) team.

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